Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Legislation Impacting Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Radicalisation Efforts

Legislation Impacting Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Radicalisation Efforts

Great Britain is the home of one of the oldest democratic systems in Europe, which has a legislation that almost completely abolishes any forms of discrimination and racism. Moreover, the United Kingdom is one of the few countries in the European Council that have joined all of the international agreements directed at protecting the rights of minorities. It is essential to take note that everything described above was achieved with no existing Constitution and a precedent-based legislation.

Nevertheless, even the British legislation has certain discriminating norms, the existence of which is defined by historical events and traditions, rather than the necessities of the contemporary society. For example, the British Act of Settlement (1701) does not satisfy the requirements of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, as it deprives any Catholic person, or anyone married to a Catholic person, of the right to inherit the British throne. The same law bares a discriminatory attitude towards women, as it clearly states, that the right of the British throne succession belongs to the first-born male, and only in the case of absence of a male heir can the throne be inherited by a monarch’s daughter.

Some elements of discrimination are also present in the legislation regulating the religious relations within the country. The English law prohibits any religion-based discrimination, as well as “inciting religious hatred”, where “religious hatred” is defined as hatred towards a group of people that practice religious beliefs different from the majority. However, the legislation does not clearly define the term “religious belief”, which means that the final decision is always left to the court. In the United Kingdom there are only two officially recognised types of church: Anglican in England and Presbyterian in Scotland. Wales and Northern Ireland do not have any religions officially recognised by the state. The ministers of the officially recognised religions can be on government payroll in case they work in prisons or hospitals.

On May 14, 2014, UK adopted a new Immigration Act which introduced restrictions to immigrants’ rights.

English is the only language of school education in the UK, which is argued by the concern for the integration of students, and also by the fact that representatives of more than 200 ethnic groups live in the country and there are schools where 60 languages are taught. The children can learn the native language only as a second language or, if this is not possible, in additional schools. And the minority languages, as a rule, are the same Welsh in Wales, Gaelic in Scotland and Irish in North America. Ireland. Thus, speeches on national schools, on education in the languages of all national minorities, do not go to the UK, including in the places where most of them live in compact places.

Instead of establishing religious and national schools, British authorities decided to “encourage religious and ethnic diversity” through allowing groups of people, such as parents of national minorities in schools, petition for certain practices in public spaces – for example, Halal meals in schools. In these cases, anyone can participate, including members of the majority group. In other words, British authorities do not prevent minorities from expressing their diversity, but this is not done through government funds.

The big problem is the expanding the "list of safe countries", from where refugees come. In 99 cases out of a hundred this means deportation to their homeland for asylum-seekers. While it was a question of the Balkan countries, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, this did not provoke a strong protest from human rights defenders, although in many cases, the deportation caused danger, too. However, in 2016, Afghanistan entered the list of safe countries in Britain and Germany.

In their defense, officials in Berlin and London claimed that they would deport Afghanistan people only to areas not controlled by the Taliban. Due to general instability in that country and the inability of the Afghan authorities to resist terrorism, this justification can hardly be considered acceptable. . According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, between January and June 2016, more than 1,600 people were victims of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, and more than 3,500 people were injured. These are maximum numbers since 2009. In 2016, a further 530,000 people became internally displaced persons. They are the inhabitants of the 31 provinces of the 34. Thus, the total number of Afghans forced to leave their place of permanent residence and seek refuge within the country has reached 1.2 million.

In August 2016 in the UK, the staff of refugee reception centers were given the right to use force to refugees and isolate them in a punishment cell (in the absence of medical contraindications) for several hours without any explanation. In official recommendations, staff of refugee centers say that they should wait for up to two hours before telling the person why he was isolated in the punishment cell. According to the instructions, "staff at the location can allow solitary confinement for up to two weeks. Managers will need to consult only on issues of longer detention."

We have to mention also the innovations concerning illegal immigrants. The program for squeezing them out of the country was adopted at the legislative level in the UK and it can be assumed that other countries will follow its example in the future.

In particular, on December 1, 2016 the provisions of the Immigration Act in the United Kingdom came into force. It criminalizes homeowners who permit undocumented migrants to reside in their homes or apartments. At the same time, tenants accused of such a crime must first evict their guests, and then appeal the accusation. For the first time, landlords will be fined 3,000 pounds. Criminal punishment and imprisonment are presumed in case of a relapse. In this regard, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants stated that de facto, "there will be no judicial oversight of the process of evicting illegal immigrants, and eviction without consideration of the courts is completely unacceptable. The Ministry of the Interior constantly makes mistakes in the immigration status of people, which are often corrected only as a result of prolonged legal battles. To give them the opportunity to drive people out onto the streets without any checks and balances is a disaster."

In addition, the powers of the immigration authorities were significantly expanded. They got the right to search homes for illegal immigrants, carry out checks directly on board air and sea vessels, etc. At the same time, they can enjoy criminal and civil immunity in the implementation of these actions.

Moreover, both employers using the labor of illegal immigrants and workers themselves were criminalized. They can be brought to criminal responsibility, and prosecutors can file an application for the confiscation of everything that could be considered a gain from this crime. The Joint Council on the Welfare of Immigrants is confident that this measure will significantly increase the vulnerability of migrant workers and increase their exploitation, since many employers will now intentionally hire short-term illegal migrants and then surrender them to the police in order not to pay them salaries. Also, the office of the Secretary of State got the right to freeze accounts of people who illegally stay in the country.

There have been no major changes in immigration law in the UK in 2017. That said, a Private Members Bill was introduced by a backbench Conservative Member of Parliament (MP), Chris Chope, to create offences with respect to migrants who have entered the UK illegally or who have remained in the UK without legal authority. It will be debated in Parliament on Friday 6 July 2018. This proposed legislation builds upon the 2016 Immigration Act which introduces new sanctions for on illegal working, prevents illegal migrants accessing services and gave the UK Border Force new powers to target people smugglers in UK territorial waters.

Back to list

© 2017 Civic Nation
Created by – NBS-Media